The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Aug. 24 announced it has officially put an end to the controversial Disinformation Governance Board, months after the newly-created board was paused amid widespread concern that it would be weaponized against dissenting voices and become a tool for government censorship.
The department announced that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “has terminated the Disinformation Governance Board and rescinded its charter effective today, August 24, 2022.”
The DHS said that it “welcomes” recommendations from the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) subcommittee, which earlier in the day issued recommendations to Mayorkas, including the determination that there is “no need for a separate Disinformation Governance Board.”
“But it is our assessment that the underlying work of Department components on this issue is critical,” the HSAC report reads. “The Department must be able to address the disinformation threat streams that can undermine the security of our homeland.”
The DHS acknowledged that the HSAC “has concluded that countering disinformation that threatens the homeland, and providing the public with accurate information in response, is critical to fulfilling the Department’s missions.”
“With the HSAC recommendations as a guide, the Department will continue to address threat streams that undermine the security of our country consistent with the law, while upholding the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the American people and promoting transparency in our work,” the DHS said.
Concerns Over Censorship
Mayorkas first announced the Disinformation Governance Board initiative in late April, when he was asked by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at a congressional hearing what the DHS was doing to ensure election security and prevent misinformation in the electoral process, in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms.
“We have just established a Disinformation Governance Board in the Department of Homeland Security to more effectively combat this threat, not only to election security but to our homeland security,” Mayorkas said at the time, adding that the new board would also focus on stopping the spread of misinformation in minority communities.